Community Digest

Top new questions this week:

How did people get apps on their computer before the Internet?

The Internet has existed since the 90s, but how did people get apps and games installed on their computers before that and how were they accessed and saved?

history market application-program  
user avatar asked by Chadley123 Score of 49
user avatar answered by RETRAC Score of 84

What innovation helped CD-ROM speeds increase exponentially?

Early CD-ROM drives were considered both expensive and slow (in comparison to HDDs). This limited their adoption until around 1992, when both the prices fell and the speeds increased dramatically. In ...

history cd-rom multimedia  
user avatar asked by Brian H Score of 23
user avatar answered by supercat Score of 18

Anyone up for decompiling some 8080 code for Kaleidoscope?

I came across a series of blog posts about Kaleidoscope, a demo program for the Cromemco Dazzler graphics card. The series implements an emulator for the system so that it could run this code again, ...

8080 s-100  
user avatar asked by Maury Markowitz Score of 19
user avatar answered by Raffzahn Score of 26

Why did IBM PC have horizontal cursor instead of vertical or block cursor?

Most 8 bit machines, like C-64, seem to have block cursors, while modern user interfaces often have vertical cursors. PC has horizontal cursor of two (or 3) scanlines by default, and block cursor for ...

ibm-pc display  
user avatar asked by tuomas Score of 17
user avatar answered by another-dave Score of 24

Identify MS-DOS 2D space adventure game c. 1992

Please can you help me identify a game I bought and played on my first PC around 1992? It was a 2D, top down game with a small spaceship that you controlled and remained centre-screen. It was a story-...

user avatar asked by Astralbee Score of 14
user avatar answered by Justme Score of 23

How was the first release of Java (JDK 1.0) used?

Foreword: I am not trying to accomplish a task using this technology but rather asking about the specific use cases of the very first release, out of curiosity. Was Java used for anything else other ...

history programming java  
user avatar asked by Prof. Reynolds Johnston Xavier Score of 9
user avatar answered by Michael Graf Score of 14

Was the Zilog Z8070 ever mass produced?

I only recently came across a mention of the Z8070 FPU for the Z8000 family. According to some benches, it was very fast given its HMOS implementation and clock. Of the very little information I can ...

user avatar asked by Maury Markowitz Score of 6

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

Why did the NES not allow rotated sprites?

I'm taking a look at the chapter on sprites from a NES programming guide at There is a little table which describes what the different sprite attribute flags do: Bit # Purpose 7 Flips ...

nes design-choices sprite  
user avatar asked by Joe Score of 34
user avatar answered by OmarL Score of 85

Why were single quotes ('…') chosen for characters, and double quotes ("…") for strings?

In C, '' is used to denote a character, while "" is used to denote a string. Why was this syntax chosen? I tried to research this using Wikipedia’s Timeline of Programming Languages along ...

history programming c design-choices  
user avatar asked by hb20007 Score of 58
user avatar answered by user3840170 Score of 50

Did many programs really store years as two characters (Y2K bug)?

The claim that programs stored dates as two ASCII or similar characters because computers were limited in resources seems wrong to me because it takes more memory than one 8-bit integer would. Also in ...

history software  
user avatar asked by Mr. Chem Question Score of 58
user avatar answered by Raffzahn Score of 103

Why did moving the mouse cursor cause Windows 95 to run more quickly?

I was playing Hypnospace Outlaw, a game about a retro-themed OS. This OS has a peculiar behavior that when loading a webpage, wiggling the mouse cursor will load the page faster. That reminded me of ...

windows-98 windows-95 mouse bugs  
user avatar asked by user2652379 Score of 431
user avatar answered by user Score of 500

Why does trying to break into the NT 3.1 kernel reboot my 486DX4 machine?

I installed Windows NT 3.1 on a Compaq ProSignia 3080 system, because of several reasons: I know that this machine was running Windows NT 3.1 when it was in productive use. And I think this machine ...

compatibility debugging bugs 80486  
user avatar asked by Michael Karcher Score of 164
user avatar answered by Michael Karcher Score of 231

Why was BASIC built into so many operating systems?

There are a lot of retro-computers with BASIC as an integral part of the operating system. The IBM 5100 was one of the first computers with a separate memory space for BASIC, followed by the Commodore ...

operating-system basic  
user avatar asked by wizzwizz4 Score of 84
user avatar answered by blubberdiblub Score of 69

Why does NumLock exist?

My keyboard has over a hundred keys on it. But there's one labelled NumLock. Pressing it turns the numeric keypad into a duplicate of the dedicated arrow keys just left of it. This doesn't seem useful ...

ibm-pc keyboards  
user avatar asked by MathematicalOrchid Score of 38
user avatar answered by Raffzahn Score of 87
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